Eat Your Way Through Mumbai With These 7 Delectable Dishes

Mouth-watering street-food staples, regional imports, and local seafood specialities make this megalopolis the City of ‘Delicious’ Dreams!


Originally a cluster of seven islands and the homeland of the indigenous Koli fishing community, Mumbai expanded over the years through trade and colonisation, drawing people from all walks of life, who brought with them culinary treasures from across the country and the world. The result? A diverse array of cooking styles and street food—and not to forget: the legendary cutting chai—the metro’s delicious equaliser. Here are seven dishes to get a multifarious taste of the Maximum City.

Vada Pav
Piquant, pillowy goodness! The gram flour-coated potato fritter (vada) is placed inside a dinner roll (pav) that’s sliced almost in half through the middle. Adding to the inviting flavour are sweet, spicy, and tangy relishes, as well as a dried garlic chutney. Legend has it that street-food vendor Ashok Vaidya invented and began selling vada pav outside Dadar Railway Station in 1966. This quick-yet-satiating snack became an instant hit among the mill workers passing through the busy train junction then and is almost every Mumbaikar’s go-to snack even today.
Try it at: Ashok Vada Pav (Dadar) and Aram Vada Pav (Fort).

Bombil Fry
Also known as Bombay Duck, bombil is—despite its misleading nickname—actually a fish found abundantly in the waters around Mumbai. Beloved by fishermen, bombils are flattened, coated in a spiced rice flour, semolina flour, or besan flour batter, and fried to perfection. Their crispy exterior and tender interior make them a delightful starter or a satisfying accompaniment to a main course. It’s also common to see them laid out to dry on Mumbai’s beaches!
Try it at: Trishna (Fort) and Jai Hind Lunch Home (multiple locations).

Irani Specialities
The 18th and 19th centuries saw an influx of Zoroastrians from Iran. To preserve their distinct cultural identity, they gathered over Irani chai, originally made with mint and devoid of milk. Eventually, members of the community opened quaint little cafés, where you can still enjoy spice-infused tea and treats like mawa cake (rich pound cake), akuri (flavourful scrambled egg), dhansak (lentil curry cooked with meat), bun maska (special bread and butter), ice cream and raspberry sodas, and more—all served with delightful old-world charm!
Try it at: Kyani & Co. (Marine Lines) and Jimmy Boy (Fort).

Pav Bhaji
During the American Civil War (1861-1865), the USA’s cotton industry faced decline, which in turn boosted Mumbai’s cotton trade and brought an influx of migrant mill workers to the city. To feed the ever-growing population, a resourceful restaurant owner in South Mumbai’s Kalbadevi neighbourhood repurposed leftover food to create a mixed vegetable curry (mainly featuring potatoes, peas, tomatoes, onions, and green bell peppers), inspired by a Gujarati dish, which became known as ‘bhaji’ and was usually served with pav. That concoction evolved into the ubiquitous street-food known as ‘pav bhaji’, with Sardar Ahmed’s Sardar Pav Bhaji later popularising the decadently buttery version that locals love today.
Try it at: Sardar Pav Bhaji (Tardeo) and Amar Juice Centre (Vile Parle).

Ragda Pattice
This match made in Mumbai’s street food heaven is the result of the marriage of the flavours of ragda—a spiced white pea stew—and pattice—a crispy, deep-fried mashed potato patty. The irresistible combo is typically drizzled with tangy tamarind sauce and fiery green chutney, then crowned with crunchy savoury titbits like papdi and sev, as well as a sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves and onions. Though its origins remain unknown, ragda pattice reigns supreme on Mumbai’s beaches, delighting taste buds at countless street vendor stalls.
Try it at: Gurukripa (Sion) and Kailash Parbat and Cream Centre outlets across the city.

Zunka Bhakar
A dish deeply rooted in Maharashtra’s farming and working-class communities, this simple, homely fare is the quintessential common man’s food. As per a government scheme in the mid-’90s, thousands of zunka bhakar stalls sprang up overnight, each serving this humble meal for no more than ₹1 per portion during that era. Zunka is the dry version of the famous creamy gram flour-based curry known as pitla. Made with besan (gram flour) mixed with chopped onions, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and spices, it’s typically enjoyed with jowar bhakri (millet roti).
Try it at: Aaswad Upahar & Mithai Gruh in Dadar.

Bombay Sandwich
This unconventional street snack combines a surprising medley of ingredients. Thick slices of buttered white bread encase layers of boiled potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, onion rings, beetroot, and mint chutney. Cut into quarters for ease of handling, each bite offers a refreshing tanginess. Have it plain, toasted, or grilled—topped with oodles of grated cheese and sev for that ‘Bombay’ touch!
Try it at: Raju Sandwich (Churchgate) and Jay Sandwich (Khar).


Related: 7 Mouth-Watering Dishes From Kolkata That Everyone Must Try